back to article Chinese Moon rover, lander duo wake up after two-week snooze

The Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC) has reported that its lunar rover and lander have reawakened after being powered down for two weeks. Earth in monochrome The black and white marble "During the lunar night, the lander and the rover were in a power-off condition and the communication with Earth was also cut off," …

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  1. stizzleswick
    Joke

    "According to the old stories, the rabbit is constantly pounding herbs on the lunar surface to give to the gods."

    Wonder what "herbs" those are, considering the gods' recent behaviour...

    </joke>

    Seriously, well done those guys. Here's hoping for a lot more pix and data from lander and rover--cheers!

    1. boltar Silver badge

      Yes, well done, hope our donation helped...

      ... given that the imbeciles in westminster are still sending about £30 mil each year as foreign "aid" to china. Or should that read "bribe"?

    2. death&taxes

      Not any kind of herbs actually.

      For Chinese the rabbit is pounding the elixir of life for the Moon goddess Chang'e. In Japan and Korea it is said to be pounding rice to make 'mochii' or 'chapssalddeok' ricecakes.

      *yawn*

  2. Dalek Dave

    Perhaps they should send it to an Apollo landing site and take photos of the Astronauts footsteps.

    Then I will believe that NASA sent men to the moon.

    1. fearnothing
      FAIL

      You question that NASA put men on the moon but think that China putting a rover there is something that can be relied upon as true? If you're going to have absurd doubts about nation states' lunar achievements, at least be consistent.

      1. Dalek Dave

        Sending robot devices is one thing, a manned landing is something else.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          No, they are the same. You just need a larger rocket to carry a bigger mass (because you need life-supporting systems). After all, only the US has been able to send rovers to Mars, and probes to the outer planets (USSR/Russia barely arrived to Mars, nothing beyond). Ask yourself why they never did...

          It's all up being able to lift heavier payloads (and the oxygen/hydrogen technology is paramount in that), and being able to re-ignite a rocket after some time "coasting" in space (it's more difficult than you could think, because of temperature, lack of outside pressure, ecc. ecc.).

          1. Naughtyhorse

            reading required

            The USSR did some pretty interesting stuff going to venus and mercury.

            prolly dont count cos it's downhill all the way there

            1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

              Re: reading required @Naughtyhorse

              "prolly dont count cos it's downhill all the way there!
              I tend to think that everything is uphill from the surface of the Earth; it's just in the opposite direction. For example do you think that pushing a car from stationary to 30MPH is harder than stopping one that is driving towards you at 30MPH?

              1. Naughtyhorse

                Re: reading required @Naughtyhorse

                my bad!

                forgot the sarcasm tag for all the pedantic humourless bastards that hang out here :-)

                </sarcasm>

          2. DiViDeD Silver badge

            "USSR/Russia barely arrived to Mars, nothing beyond). Ask yourself why they never did..."

            Oh I don't know - let me think:

            Too busy getting the first artificial satellite, first animal, first man, first woman into space maybe?

            Or wasting their time with manned space stations?

            Or providing the only photographs of the surface of Venus?

            I dunno, bloody Russians. Wasting their time with space research when they should have been sending a man to the Moon.

    2. The lone lurker

      @ Dalek Dave

      If you do not already believe that men landed on the moon then I sincerely doubt that some Chinese pictures will convince you otherwise.

      The evidence is already visible from The LRO images from orbit.

      http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/revisited/#.UtUeD_RdXIc

      http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LRO/news/apollo-11.html#.UtUfrfRdXIc

      http://www.space.com/12835-nasa-apollo-moon-landing-sites-photos-lro.html

      1. Dalek Dave

        Re: @ Dalek Dave

        I see evidence of vehicle landings, not evidence of a man wandering about there.

        There is a difference.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: @ Dalek Dave

          >not evidence of a man wandering about there

          I see very little evidence on Google Earth of a man wandering about, yes lots of buildings and cars but very few people....

          1. ukgnome

            Re: @ Dalek Dave

            Well I have never actually seen people in America as I have never been there. Sure I've seen pictures and video, but they can all be faked right. In fact the more I think about it the more I am convinced that the UK is the only country and that everywhere else is just a figment of my imagination coupled with the UK propaganda machine.

            Oh Fudge, I guess I am responsible for the French.....My Bad!

            Now troll off!

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Naughtyhorse

            Re: @ Dalek Dave

            dave

            get yourself a laser

            get yourself a timer

            and while you are about it, get yerself a feking clue m8

        2. Peter Simpson 1
          Facepalm

          Re: @ Dalek Dave

          I sincerely hope you're too young to remember watching the Apollo missions on TV.

          If you had seen them, you would have no doubt that men walked on the moon. For $DEITY's sake, man, ham radio operators listened in on the transmissions. And what's the motivation for all the people that supposedly worked on that soundstage to keep mum for all these years? You'd think someone would have sneaked a camera in and could make a fortune selling the photos of the soundstage to the tabloids.

          We really did put men on the moon. More than once. And brought them home safely.

          // With slide rules and IBM 360s.

          // ...and Real Engineering

      2. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

        Re: @ Dalek Dave

        I have no problem believing that men have landed on the Moon.

        But I'd like someone to convince me that Devon exists. I always thought that it was a folk-tale, and that Cornwall was an island...

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. LDS Silver badge

      Because that lander photo looks natural and true?

      Guess I could do better in Photoshop...

    5. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

      Re: "Dalek" Dave?

      for insulting the intelligence level of the Daleks, you will be... EXTERMINATED!

  3. phil dude
    Coat

    even more impressed....

    that NASA put a man on the moon with 50's designs and 60's technologies!!

    P.

    1. Peter Simpson 1
      Pint

      Re: even more impressed....

      Real Engineers did that.

      (not to minimize the present-day accomplisments of all who design for space exploration, but there has to be some bonus for doing it first)

      // Beer's for them all, and the astronauts as well.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: Real Engineers did that.....

        you mean ones that knew the difference between feet and metres

        1. SDoradus

          Re: Real Engineers did that.....

          Too easy. Slugs and kilos, maybe. <http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/mechanics/slug.html>

        2. Pedigree-Pete
          Coat

          Re: Real Engineers did that.....

          ..........and apparently US & Imperial Gallons.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: even more impressed....

      "that NASA put a man on the moon with 50's designs and 60's technologies!!"

      Remember in those years were also developed the X-15, the SR-71 and the XB-70. There's nothing matching them now - only slower aircraft using a lot of electronics to perform better - it's cheaper.

      We are now used to think about technolgy as pixels blinking on a stylish computer screen, and then computers were "primitive". But engineering was not - even if they had no computer to perform most calculations an simulations. There were smart people, and a lot of money available.

      One of the key technology was mastering oxygen-hydrogen engines (being able to put those components into a tank and manage them, and also ignite them in space), because they allowed for the thrust/weight ratio needed to build a rocket able to reach the Moon with a payload large enough to carry men.

      Then the rest is mainly celestial mechanics - once your are in the right direction with the right speed you'll end where you want.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: even more impressed....

      >that NASA put a man on the moon with 50's designs and 60's technologies!!

      and got him back again...

      That caveat meant they had to get Real Engineers involved. Take the Real Engineers away and you get a Challenger...

  4. diego

    I don't think 'we in the west' is accurate in having this man on the moon folklore. I'm a brazilian and I had never heard of that before! Is that more of an anglo-saxon thing?

    1. boltar Silver badge

      "I don't think 'we in the west' is accurate in having this man on the moon folklore. I'm a brazilian and I had never heard of that before!"

      No offense, but I don't think south america has ever been considered part of "The West". Its not a geographical term , its a political one.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "No offense, but I don't think south america has ever been considered part of "The West". Its not a geographical term , its a political one."

        He's right about the Anglo Saxon thing though, at least to some extent, what with "The West" pretty much being western Europe, north America, Australia/NZ. On the other hand, a lot of south America is sort of Anglo Saxon too thanks to the Spanish.

        1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          Non Anglii sed Hispanici

          a lot of south America is sort of Anglo Saxon too thanks to the Spanish

          The Angles and the Saxons seem to have come from North-West Germany or South Denmark. More colloquially, the term refers to people from England. In recent usage it describes people from North America or former British imperial possessions, whose ancestors came from Britain, Scandinavia or the Germanic countries of Europe.

          I can't see how the Spanish, or Spanish-speaking countries in South America fit into this. If we're going to categorise people by their Dark Age antecedents, then Visigoth, or perhaps Moorish, would be more appropriate for Spain.

          I suppose the Germans who emigrated to South America in a hurry in 1945 might count as Anglo-Saxons.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Non Anglii sed Hispanici

            "I can't see how the Spanish, or Spanish-speaking countries in South America fit into this. If we're going to categorise people by their Dark Age antecedents, then Visigoth, or perhaps Moorish, would be more appropriate for Spain."

            Good point. I don't get out much.

          2. Christopher Blackmore

            Don't forget the Welsh!

            I believe they are in Patagonia, but have no idea why.

            1. Pedigree-Pete
              Joke

              Re: Don't forget the Welsh!

              ...full of big sheep by any chance.

          3. Nick Pettefar

            Re: Non-Anglii sed Hispanici

            South America was already a place for Germans, long before WW2, hence it was an easy place to run to for those able - they had large communities to blend into.

    2. cambsukguy

      Humans have a very specialised part of the brain just to see and recognise faces; this is why people can 'see' a face where almost nothing indicates one (even the Mars 'face' is more of a face).

      I never remember being able to see a face myself until a few years ago when it suddenly struck me that I could; even now I struggle to pick it out but I do understand why people see one clearly now.

      As for a Rabbit, I will look for it next time there is a full moon.

    3. Dalek Dave

      Anglo Saxons are mainly in The East.

      1. Kane Silver badge
        Boffin

        "Anglo Saxons are mainly in The East."

        Depends on which direction you're facing.

    4. AndrueC Silver badge
      Boffin

      I don't think 'we in the west' is accurate in having this man on the moon folklore

      Most of Brazil is below the equator so I'm not sure you'd see the Man's face anyway. Not sure how that works - perhaps he'd be on his side for some rotating to upside down for those further south?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It’s a hemisphere thing. In the northern one the moon looks like it has a face on it, in the southern it looks a bit like a rabbit. If us northerners either go on holiday to Australia, or more simply stand on your head for long enough tonight, you will be able to see the rabbit (but it takes a while to spot if you are used to the face. My relatives in Tasmania agreed with me that it is a bit of a rubbish rabbit, but it certainly does not look like a face the other way up).

        Anyway, congrats to the Chinese for getting there and making it work. We're all rocket scientists at heart...

  5. davefb

    It's not a rabbit..

    It's a mouse shadow.

    1. Pedigree-Pete

      Re: It's not a rabbit..

      Have an up vote for the Dune ref.

  6. cambsukguy

    A lot of risk was taken for the Moon landings

    The tech was possibly even older, Germany's rocket technology for instance, updated no doubt.

    Given the test pilot deaths and injuries (watch the Six Million Dollar Man opening sequence) and the Apollo 1 launch pad fire as well as Apollo 13's well-known problems and one can see that the Moonshots were seriously risky endeavours.

    Even the successful first landing was extremely close to a catastrophe or a tragedy depending whether Neil Armstrong had completely run out of fuel and crashed (catastrophe) before finding a safe landing spot or landed but had insufficient fuel to take off again (tragedy). I think it was less than 20s worth of fuel remaining, an impressive feat given the insane stress he must have been under - probably did have the right stuff. Even the subsequent take-off was not a sure thing because of the low fuel situation.

    This is, of course, if they were actually there and not hyping it all from a warehouse in Nevada! Geesh some people are fucking idiots.

    I became aware of how risky even NASA thinks it is when I saw the memorial wall at Canaveral after the Challenger disaster (and the launch I went to see having been cancelled because of a crack in a thermometer). The wall is enormous, many panels, with the aforementioned events are recorded on two of them.

    Obviously, there is one for the Columbia loss but the wall is still almost empty and presumably less likely to stay that way for some time given that NASA is not really using people to explore space much any more.

    1. Norman Hartnell

      Re: A lot of risk was taken for the Moon landings

      @cambsukguy I think I'm right in saying that the LEM descent and ascent stages used different fuel tanks, so the fact Armstrong landed with so little remaining fuel didn't affect the take-off.

    2. Dalek Dave

      Re: A lot of risk was taken for the Moon landings

      What is amazing is the crash shown in the opening of The Six Million Dollar Man was a real crash and the pilot walked away from it. (Well, was carried away from it) and he lived on until he died in 2006.

      He hated the programme as it kept reminding him of the worst day of his life.

      (Although I suspect that 1st of May 2006 wasn't a good one for him either).

    3. Vulch

      Re: A lot of risk was taken for the Moon landings

      The pilot of the lifting body that featured in the Six Million Dollar Man titles actually walked away from that crash, although he subsequently lost an eye due to an infection picked up in hospital.

      The Apollo 11 landing had around fifty seconds of fuel remaining at touchdown, if it got down to 30 seconds then an abort was required as the remaining fuel was needed to get enough altitude for a safe stage separation and ascent engine start. They were 20 seconds to that point, not to dry tanks, and as has been mentioned already the stages did not share fuel or engines.

      1. Dom 3

        Re: A lot of risk was taken for the Moon landings

        @Vulch: I think you've taken two facts and drawn a slightly erroneous conclusion.

        The "bingo call" was the point at which they had to abort OR land within the next few seconds. At the time, Apollo 11 was about 20 seconds away from the bingo call.

        Subsequent analysis revealed that due to fuel sloshing around in the tanks, the low fuel level sensor (which triggered a latching indicator) was uncovered early and that the binggo countdown was started too early. The final analysis of fuel remaining indicated about 50 seconds left, which was on a par with all the other lunar landings. The lander was never designed to land with masses of fuel left.

        Masses more here:

        http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/

    4. WonkoTheSane
      Mushroom

      Re: A lot of risk was taken for the Moon landings

      The tricky part of the return to Mike Collins in the Command Module was due it being impossible to test-fire the ascent engine without destroying it due to the highly corrosive hypergolic fuel used.

    5. Paul Uszak

      Empty wall..?

      If you want to see a wall, go see the Basra wall at the Staffordshire, UK, Arboretum. It's not empty.

  7. ISYS
    Pint

    Open question

    Reading this line - "During the lunar night, the lander and the rover were in a power-off condition and the communication with Earth was also cut off" has reminded me of something that has always confused me.

    How do they switch it back on again? Is it on a timer?

    Anyway - well done to Jade Rabbit and all the team.

    1. cambsukguy

      Re: Open question

      Well, one imagines that, as power is coming up with the sunlight, the device powers up the receiver and listens for messages for a little while.

      Since the engineers on earth know exactly when the sunlight will strike and fairly accurately how long it takes to get power for the receiver (almost no time at all I would think) they can send commands just when needed. Direct sunlight must be pretty good for creating power but weight/design issues could still limit what they have - I wouldn't use the transmitter unless needed.

      In the unlikely event that we send nothing for the allotted time, I would have thought the device sends something like "Hey, no-one down there even says Good Morning brave Rabbit!"

      1. ISYS

        Re: Open question

        Thanks (and to Mr Wilkinson)

        That makes sense.

        These rocket scientists are bloody clever aren't they.

    2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Open question

      It's called an alarm clock, made in China (just like the one next to my bed)

      Sorry, couldn't resist. They could simply detect the end of the lunar night by the increased power of the solar panels. No clouds to get in the way.

    3. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Open question

      I know their using a radioactive source to prevent the lander from freezing, but does anyone know if it's being used for power as well?

  8. hammarbtyp

    Thanks for the name clarification

    Up to now I had assumed it was taken from the name of a brand of vibrators

  9. Spender

    I'm surprised that in 2014...

    ...they go and equip it with a camera that seems to barely rival a cheap 10 year old webcam.

    Somehow I expected more bandwidth.

    1. RISC OS

      Re: I'm surprised that in 2014...

      That's a filter so that you don't notice the CGi used to make it. ;)

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: I'm surprised that in 2014...

        You COULD send up a brand spanking new camera, but it would be unlikely to last even the trip to the Moon because of the lack of radiation hardening. A single stray Cosmic Ray or charged particle can completely lock up/permanently disable any piece of electronics that isnt suitably radiation hardened and shielded. It takes a lot of time and effort to develop a radiation hardened peice of electronics, which is why you will always find older camera tech on these missions. The quality might be lower, but you are at least guaranteed to get your pictures back.

        Low quality visual data is better then none after all...

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: I'm surprised that in 2014...

          Just look at the cameras USA probles have on board and you see the difference - and they are subject to an harsh environment as well. Maybe it's just a weight issue, but the image quality is really low for an actual probe.

          1. Gene Cash Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: I'm surprised that in 2014...

            Perhaps when Britain can put a camera in orbit, much less one on the Moon, you can select one of the quality you'd like....

            1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

              Re: I'm surprised that in 2014...

              I think Britain is a bit northern for most efficient launches to orbit (France happens to still own a bit of land near the equator, and is friendly). In addition, the laws here are so awful, that people who could launch here go somewhere else to do it instead. The UK gov used to have quite a nice small rocket; I think there's still one in Leicester (along with the only Soyez outside of the former USSR), but they gave up on it after disasterous attempts of work sharing a 3-stage rocket with European partners.

              However, some very, very nice CCDs for space use come out of Britain, including almost 1 billion pixels worth launched very recently. Also you can easily get the rest of the kit in Britain, and cheaply too, if you are happy with the cutsy little birds that come from Surry Satellites. Look up Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC)

            2. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

              Re: I'm surprised that in 2014...

              ...Perhaps when Britain can put a camera in orbit...

              If you're talking about just having a British-built satellite up, that would be 1962, borrowing an American rocket. If you're talking about a complete system, British rocket and satellite, that would be 1971, when a British Black Arrow rocket launched the British Prospero satellite.

              It's still up there - no camera, but it does have a tape-recorder...

            3. BlinkenLights
              Facepalm

              Re: I'm surprised that in 2014...

              "Perhaps when Britain can put a camera in orbit".

              We may not have the launch vehicles but we certainly build complete satellites and cameras for many more, including Hubble.*

              * http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15242383

            4. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I'm surprised that in 2014...

              Perhaps when Britain can put a camera in orbit, much less one on the Moon, you can select one of the quality you'd like....

              http://hackaday.com/2012/07/18/sending-a-raspberry-pi-to-130000-feet/

    2. Pookietoo

      Re: I'm surprised that in 2014...

      I imagine that the camera isn't really intended for astronomical observations, and they're just trying it out before they get down to studying the moon's surface.

  10. Richard Boyce
    FAIL

    Politics v engineering

    What politician decided it was a good idea to place a flag over a solar panel?

    1. Crazy Operations Guy

      Re: Politics v engineering

      That's a side panel, not a solar panel. Also, every space-faring nation/organization puts their flag on the side.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's No Moon!

    I had no idea our planet was so unfinished, quick, phone Mowlems, get them to get a shift on ;)

  12. The Jase

    KSC

    I saw those EVA suits at KSC. Lunar dust is abrasive

  13. Martin The Spud

    I assume this is faked too

    I have heard the lack of stars in the Apollo photos is used as part of the evidence that the landings were faked. There are no stars in these pictures either, so I assume they were faked too. Alternatively the counter arguments that exposures for objects lit in lunar daylight don't capture stars may be valid.

  14. Winkypop Silver badge
    Boffin

    Lab coats and safety specs all round!

    Well done those boffins.

    I was lucky enough to be a 7 year old when Apollo11 landed on the moon.

    That early influence set the scene for my life-long interest in all things scientific.

    Conspiracy theorists be damned!

  15. Hubert Thrunge Jr.
    Joke

    Chinese achievement!

    So you're telling me that the Chinese have sent a Rover to the moon surface, left it in the dark and cold, and it started after two weeks?

    A Rover?

    I didn't know the AA went out to the Moon?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    well jel

    is the lunakhod thing still prowling around the moon? i remember watching crystal clear footage of its progress while all the nasa stuff was all fuzzy.

    Just assumed that out of jealousy the bbc and co stopped talking about it.

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